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See Inside June/July 2006

Controlling Epilepsy

One woman's journey through diagnosis and treatment shows how far we have come in using surgery to defuse seizures
Patients at the Epilepsy Clinic



MANFRED ZENTSCH Gehirn & Geist

Trudy, a 34-year-old bank employee, had been suffering from epilepsy for more than 18 years. She had tried all the usual medications, with little success. Typically she would feel nauseated before an oncoming seizure, then lose consciousness. A few minutes later she would wake up, exhausted. According to her husband, she would smack her lips during her seizures and fumble with her hands.

When it got to the point that Trudy was experiencing two to three seizures a week, she decided to contact the Epilepsy Clinic at Bonn University, Germany, which she had heard about in a television report. Several weeks later she had her first outpatient appointment. After a detailed discussion of her medical history, physicians took blood samples, an electroencephalogram (EEG) of her brain and magnetic resonance images (MRI) of her head. Within days a doctor called to tell Trudy that surgery was recommended and that she should come in for an inpatient workup. Trudy was glad--and scared.

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